Hyfrecation of warts
Hyfrecation is a minor surgical procedure that works by burning off skin lesions using electrocautery. It is particularly useful in the immediate clearance of warts. For this reason, it is called “instant wart removal” by our patients.
Whilst Hyfrecation is an established treatment method and has been in practice for more than 80 years, it is a less well known method of treatment compared to Laser in the UK.
Hyfrecation is carried out under local anaesthesia (i.e. the skin around the warts to be removed is numbed before treating). The procedure will leave a small raw area which should heal over in a few days.
Length of treatment
1-2 visits (for most patients)
1 week apart (if needed)
Duration of procedure
1. Initial consultation
Before you undergo any procedure, it is imperative to have a consultation so we can discuss what is going to happen and answer any questions you may have.
3. Follow up appointment
We may ask you to come back in 2 weeks for additional treatment, for those with a larger and more complex set of warts.
How effective is Hyfrecation?
This procedure is between 94-100% effective at removing genital warts. We are able to remove most of our patients’ genital warts in one session. Those with a larger/complex set of warts may require an additional session.
Patients should be aware before undergoing any wart treatment that there are currently no treatments which are guaranteed to prevent warts from recurring.
When is Hyfrecation recommended as a treatment for warts?
- When other treatment methods have not been successful
- When other treatment methods have not been tolerated well
- When other treatment methods cannot be used (e.g. in pregnancy Local Creams cannot be used)
- When immediate removal of warts is desired
Can my warts come back after the procedure?
Hyfrecation is a treatment for the removal of genital warts. It does not have, like other treatments for genital warts, an effect of eradicating HPV. Therefore, warts can recur when HPV infection becomes active again.
Your clinician will assess whether your warts are currently growing in size before offering to commence the procedure. This is because a recent increase in wart size indicates higher chances of warts recurring after treatment, in addition to the presence of other lifestyle factors.
How is this different from laser treatment?
The outcome in the removal of genital warts are very similar, with both Hyfrecation and Laser. Laser treatment is based on concentrated infrared light, whilst Hyfrecation is based on electricity.
What are the side effects?
Most patients are surprised with how simple the procedure is and the minimal discomfort it causes. They experience minimal discomfort during the recovery and can get on with their normal life in the a period.
However, sometimes patients may experience one of the following side effects: pain, soreness, bruising, bleeding, infection, change in skin colour and scar formation.
Is it a painful procedure?
For most patients, local anaesthesia (i.e. numbing creams, spray and/or injections) is enough to make the procedure a painless experience.
However, those with sensitive skin may feel some discomfort during the procedure, especially at the application of the local anaesthesia.
Rest assured, we will walk you through every step of the process and discuss the discomfort that may be involved and which method of local anaesthesia is best for you.
Will I need time off after the procedure?
Most patients will not need to take any time off work after the procedure. Rarely, one may feel a little sore for a day or two following the treatment, especially when larger warts have been treated.
For more information on Hyfrecation aftercare, please click here.
Will my warts be suitable for hyfrecation?
Hyfrecation is suitable for all types of warts and our clinic is equipped to treat almost all complexities of genital warts.
Rarely, we may come across lesions which are best treated in a hospital setting where we will advise accordingly. This may arise if the patient has got underlying medical conditions, are on specific medications requiring special monitoring or the patient may need general anaesthesia.
I am pregnant. Can I still have this treatment?
Yes. Hyfrecation is a safe treatment for pregnant patients. Cryotherapy and Hyfrecation are the only safe methods of treatment of warts in pregnancy.
Warts can occur during pregnancy due to changes in hormones and immune system, but it’s important to be aware that warts often recede after delivery. You may want to consider waiting until after birth.
How long does the procedure take?
The length of the procedure varies upon how many warts a patient has. An average length of time is between 15 and 30 minutes.
For those with a larger/complex set of warts will require an additional appointment in 1-2 weeks time.
How much does it cost?
Initial consultation: £50
All patients must have an initial consultation prior to receiving treatment. You will receive an exact quote for the Hyfrecation procedure.
Hyfrecation procedure: from £300 (does not include the initial consultation fee)
The exact cost will depend on the size, number, location and complexity of your warts – this is why it is difficult to have a fixed cost for the procedure before seeing you in person.
Appointments are approx. 30 minutes long. This is enough time for most patients to have the consultation + receive treatment in the same appointment (saving another visit), but this entirely depends on how long is required on the consultation part of the appointment and whether it is safe to proceed with the treatment.
Page reviewed by Dr. Manoj Malu (Clinical Director)
Last reviewed date: 3 July 2020
Next review due: 3 July 2023
Whilst this content is written and reviewed by sexual health specialists, it is for general guidance only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your clinician.
Reference & Further Reading
- British Association for Sexual Health and HIV: UK National Guidelines on the Management of Anogenital Warts 2015
- International Union against Sexually Transmitted Infections: 2019 European Guideline for the Management of Anogenital Warts
- Journal of family medicine and primary care: Hyfrecation for Recalcitrant Nongenital Warts
- British Medical Journal: Cryotherapy versus electrocautery in the treatment of genital warts
- Australasian Journal of Dermatology: Carbon Dioxide Laser Treatment of Periungual and Subungual Viral Warts
- International Journal of STD & AIDS: Treatment of Anogenital Warts in Genitourinary Clinics in England and Wales
- British Medical Journal: Outpatient treatment of perianal warts by scissor excision
- International Journal of STD & AIDS: Management of Intrameatal Warts in Men
- Pediatric Dermatology: Scissor Excision Plus Electrocautery of Anogenital Warts in Prepubertal Children
- Cutis: Long-term follow-up evaluation of patients with electro surgically treated warts
If you think you may have Genital Warts
It is important to refer to a healthcare provider as soon as possible. They can diagnose your lesions and discuss treatment options with you, along with any questions & worries you may have.